The character development in Haywire could use some work, but isn’t that usually the case with action films, even the good ones? Soderbergh works hard to keep the film moving. We don’t have much time to wonder about what brought Mallory to this desperate moment, and when the explanation comes, Soderbergh does his best to keep it from being a long-winded, one-character monologue.

Haywire isn’t as sly as Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, which starred George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez and had romantic tension that’s mostly missing from Haywire. But it shows that the skillful director can elevate genre pieces that, in lesser hands, would have been uglier and harder edged. Haywire can be tough and violent, although those familiar with action films won’t be fazed by what they see. Although revenge motivates Mallory, her actions could be construed as a form of self-defense against those who seek to harm her.

Still, there’s no great moral to this story, just some memorable moments that are surprisingly good relative to so many other movies in the same genre.


  • Language/Profanity: Lord’s name taken in vain; the “f” word; “s-it”; “hell”; “sucks.”
  • Alcohol/Smoking/Drugs: A character asks for a beer; Scott asks Mallory if she’s in the drug business; wine drinking; cigar smoking.
  • Sex/Nudity: Mallory pushes Aaron against the wall, kisses him and unbuckles his belt; the next scene cuts to Mallory in a robe, but it’s several days later; male character is shown bare-chested, with a towel wrapped around his waist; a brief glimpse through a shower door of a woman showering; a woman shown in a bikini; a man’s shirt is unbuttoned and his chest exposed; verbal allusions to past intimate relationships.
  • Violence/Crime: Several hard-hitting fight scenes; Mallory asks Scott to fix her arm as she drives; explosions; a corpse with a bullet wound in his forehead; a character is shot in the head at close range; reckless driving, with the police in pursuit; a dead body is shown, with blood pooling around its head and splattered on a nearby vehicle.
  • Religion/Morals: A character explains what he does by saying, “The motive is always money.”

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